My newsfeed is is representative of today’s event called “A Day Without Women.” I am also seeing more Women’s History month posts attempting to validate and drive more respect for females too. Not gonna complain about that as I do try to hold true to the popular quote:
“Here’s to Strong Women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
As a popular meme that pops up from time to time on Facebook and Instagram, I do find irony in the history of whoever so eloquently first said those words.
The author is actually unknown.
And if I really dig deep my Women’s History Class in college is failing me on dates and suffragists who made the right to vote by women a reality. Lucretia Mott. There! And which Amendment did that? Wait . . . 19th. Whew.
Sad reality, but between sleep deprivation, motherhood, aging and an over-committed schedule my brain has dumped a lot of school learned facts. How to potty train in 3 days or understand the new children’s Tylenol measuring method or recall who gets to push the elevator button next trip out has jostled all of my coffee table talk to a backseat role.
So in looking behind, I’m no Jeopardy contestant. But boy oh boy, looking to the future I’m a modern day Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Boom. Another suffragist’s name!
Speak to me about lifting my daughter up with words or casting a vision for her to be anything she sets her mind to? I’m on it. Talking about her muscles, not her measurements. Praising her brain to figure out tough math instead of the way to play coy? I’m all in. She is adamant about wearing a tutu with her soccer uniform. Alright. We find a balance and high five her on the ability to negotiate – and stylize.
Hoping for a future where she knows her worth and values herself as a child of God in all future decisions is something we pray about. And something I’ve blogged about for goodness sake.
So looking back I’m proud – if not a tad cobwebbed on the details. Looking forward you can bet your bottom dollar I’m holding the banner for respect of our little women in the years ahead. Shouting from the rooftops. Cheering the success and crying the bitter tears for others.
- The foster child bounced around the system seeking a normalcy my kids take for granted.
- The older woman in the grocery store with the bad wig meant to cover the effects of the awful treatment she endures.
- The orphans we support through Compassion International who tell us they bought a pair of socks or a soccer ball with their birthday money. Wow.
- The woman mourning her new responsibility as caretaker to her parent, never guessing roles would flip so drastically.
- The put together childless woman who is falling apart on the inside each time she sees a newborn or hears another friend is pregnant.
- The single mom who is literally doing it all and then some with no fanfare, no support, no sleep and no savings account.
- The wife with the gorgeous ring and “fabulous” life that comes with a cruel, abusive, dismissive, mean or silent partner.
All of them I offer grace, support and hope. Yet what about the woman standing between the past and the future. The woman I see in the mirror each day? How do I treat her? What type of grace, support and hope am I willing to impart upon her daily thoughts of worry and stress? Any at all? Or just more vitriol spewed at the pathetic woman I think I am?
“How could you eat that?”
“I will never fit my fat behind in those jeans again?”
“Why don’t I have any self control?”
“Why would I say that to her? I’m such an idiot.”
“When will my house/wardrobe/car/job/hair/body be as great as her’s?”
Living in a constant state of comparison and want creates blinders to what we have – and a hollowness of gratitude no new “it” bag or high end vacation will fill.
And here’s another tidbit dear friends: You can’t hate yourself skinny. Trust me, if this were the case then years ago I would have accomplished size negative 0 to infinity. I’d be living in white leggings and crop tops people!
Who sets theses standards anyway as to how I should look or act? In only a few minutes flipping through a style heavy magazine I’m quickly reminded that I am not enough by the world’s standards. My hair needs volume, my lashes extending, my face blurring, my hips photoshopping, my cleavage hoisting – even my posture is anything but confident Glamazon.
You will never trip into perfecting unattainable goals.
But guess what I’ve come to learn? Standards demanded for someone who is nothing like you will never be met. In fact you will fail before you even try. Or spend a lot of wasted money on products and gimmicks designed to berate, not celebrate.
Put the magazine, advertisement, Groupon, on-line coupon or photoshopped image down. Stop the voices in your head that you would never allow be directed at a dear friend. Re-prioritize what matters to you and why it matters. Put a hard stop on any nagging or abusive voice you hear talking about you. Shush your lips from speaking unkindly about your body, your motivation, your mothering, your work ethic, your home’s cleanliness, your kid’s behavior, and on and on.
Plan on this taking an actual 21 days because hateful self talk is a habit. And for the sake of mental health and overall confidence, it’s a habit one must break.
The recorded messages we scold ourselves with are nothing more than lies the devil wants to whisper into your ear in order to break your momma heart. The thoughts we allow in that mentally beat ourselves up make us feel less than and were never intended by the God of the Universe to measure our value. If thoughts are not supporting our worth, then they are not worthwhile.
And you are worth it dear friend. All the kindness, all the grace, all the hope, all the cheering on from all of us. Just as you would demand of those females in your circle you love, those women who’ve gone before you and those little ladies you are helping raise up in your community.
To kindness. May it start with us first.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14 NIV